January 22, 2010, Edition 2
This Week in Legislative News…
SBCTC Legislative Notebook
Find legislative information, House and Senate member listings, committee lists, and more in the online SBCTC Legislative Notebook.
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Legislative News is published weekly during legislative sessions by the staff of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges, 1300 Quince Street SE, PO Box 42495, Olympia, WA 98504-2495, telephone 360-704-4310, FAX 360-704-4415.
Janelle Runyon, editor
Budget talks continue
Representatives of higher education had a chance to weigh in on the governor’s proposed budget during a Senate Ways and Means Committee public hearing on Monday.
Before discussing K-12 budget issues, Randy Parr, Washington Education Association lobbyist, reminded the committee community and technical colleges are “bursting at the seams and doing everything they can to educate far more students than you support.”
He said two-year colleges have gone through every budget-cutting process possible and are now at the point of “cutting to the bone.”
Denise Graham, SBCTC operating budget director, reviewed the main areas of concern for two-year colleges in the governor’s proposed budget:
Jack Oharah, Edmonds Community College president, told the committee while Edmonds’ enrollment has increased 28 percent in full-time equivalent students, current and future cuts will reach 15 percent even after considering tuition increases.
“We can’t be expected to take additional cuts and continue to be part of the solution for more rapid economic recovery for our state,” he said.
Several members of the Washington Student Association spoke about the budget concerns, including Marcus Sweetser, Bellevue College’s director of the student government office of legislative affairs. Sweetser asked the committee to fully restore the State Need Grant, hold the line on tuition increases and invest more in the Worker Retraining Program, saying community and technical colleges offer the most efficient, affordable and accessible way to build a better future.
“Community and technical colleges will play a key role in economic recovery,” he said. “Please help us keep the doors open.”
Last Friday, the House Higher Education Committee heard House Bill 2634, promoting efficiencies including institutional coordination and partnerships in the community and technical college system, sponsored by Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle.
On Tuesday, its companion Senate Bill 6359, sponsored by Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, was heard in the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee.
The bills require adjacent community college districts to coordinate and avoid unnecessary duplication of student services and administrative functions.
In addition, they require the SBCTC to establish criteria and procedures for consolidating district structures to form multiple campus districts and, in collaboration with the boards of trustees, identify potential administrative efficiencies, complementary administrative functions, and complementary academic programs in adjacent districts.
Charlie Earl, SBCTC executive director, and Pamela Transue, Tacoma Community College president, discussed the recommendations of the State Board’s Mission Study and testified in support of amending the bill to allow the Legislature to retain control over college boundaries.
“The district boundaries are 40 years old. There have been a lot of population shifts and changes in technology,” said Earl. “We also need to remember there are real people at the local level behind all these conversations.”
“Students choose where they want to attend classes based on programs and classes, not by districts,” said Transue. “Boundaries do have valid purposes in other areas.”
She said merging colleges is a different issue altogether since there are differences in mission, culture, and priorities.
“There is a perception that things move slowly in higher education, but in the community and technical colleges things happen quickly and efficiently,” said Pete Crane, Olympic College trustee. “It was just a few short years ago we started the applied bachelor’s degrees.”
“For trustees, our loyalty is to the students and communities we serve,” he said. “Our priority is to protect students, not boundaries.”
Donna Steward, Association of Washington Business, spoke in support of efforts to bring efficiency to accounting, payroll, and purchasing and to look at coordination of programs. She expressed some concerns about loss of college-to-business relationships in consolidations. She said businesses connect with their local colleges for training and economic development efforts.
Bernal Baca, AFT Washington, said people seem to be in general agreement about the bills’ concept, but cautioned that timeline is short. He encouraged inclusiveness in any study, noting that when you look at programs of study, you are talking about faculty.
A substitute bill was introduced in the Senate Higher Education Committee reflecting Earl and Transue’s recommendation and also revising the reporting requirement to an interim report due December 2010 with a final report due in 2011.
Senate Bill 6355 and its companion, House Bill 2655, had hearings in their respective chambers Tuesday. The bills implement the Higher Education Coordinating Board’s System Design Plan recommendations, which, among several things, includes removing the “pilot” status from the community and technical colleges’ applied baccalaureate degrees and—subject to approval by the SBCTC and the HECB—would allow two-year colleges to develop additional baccalaureate degrees based on employer and community demand. The bills create a comprehensive process and system for determining degree needs in the state.
Ann Daley, HECB executive director, said the System Design recommendations are focused on “using what we’ve got wisely.”
Neil McReynolds, Eastern Washington University trustee and member of the HECB’s System Design steering committee, said these bills support “the spirit and specifics of the system design plan and will help our higher education institutions deliver both in the long-term and the short-term.”
Bill Grinstein, HECB member, said the board’s plan looked directly at issues of access and economic need as they relate to degree production, keeping in mind the dramatically changing demographics of Washington State, the issues of first-time college participants, adult learners and locations in urban areas where specific degrees are needed. “The HECB is very committed to this [plan],” he said.
Bill Lyne, United Faculty of Washington State president, said, “There’s a lot I like about this bill,” but he also raised concerns about expanding missions in the face of budget cuts. He said the first priority should be fully funding existing missions first.
Vicki Orrico, Bellevue College trustee, spoke to the success of BC’s Bachelor of Science in Radiation and Imaging, and said the BC board appreciates the removal of “pilot status” and supports both bills.
Jean Floten, Bellevue College president, said, “I appreciate the work undertaken by the HECB to bring all of higher education together to speak to the challenges we have before us.” She said the bill provides a clear roadmap for delivery of education across the state, and assured the committee that BC doesn’t “aspire to be turned into a liberal arts college, but we do aspire to be there for place-bound students who need a four-year credential” in specific professional-technical fields.
Dave Mitchell, Olympic College president, said, the bill recognizes the importance of all the different ways to meet demand, and applied baccalaureates are just one of the many ways. “This bill is all about meeting workforce needs,” he said.
Jan Yoshiwara, SBCTC deputy executive director of education, said the goal of the master plan is to raise educational attainment across and to produce more of all kinds of degrees, which requires greater access. “This is all about maintaining access and we have to figure out new and better ways for those who aren’t going to college and who aren’t graduating. This bill focuses on other options that get at the populations who currently aren’t going to college at the same rate as others,” she said.
Malcolm Grothe, South Seattle Community College executive dean, spoke in favor of the bill and thanked WSU, which mentored when SSCC when it created its first applied baccalaureate program in hospitality management.
Roberta Greer, SSCC Hospitality Management Advisory Committee chair; Laura Hopkins, Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee training director; and Madeleine Thompson, Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board policy analyst, all spoke in favor of the bills.
Jane Sherman, WSU vice provost and Violet Boyer, Independent Colleges of Washington president, both supported the System Design Plan, but had some concerns with the bills.
Mike Reilly, Council of Presidents assistant director; Bernal Baca, AFT Washington, and Ann Anderson, Central Washington University director of governmental relations, all voiced some concerns with the bills.
Senate Bill 6503, sponsored by Sen. Margarita Prentice, D-Renton, would close state agencies on specified dates. During the Senate Labor, Commerce and Consumer Protection committee hearing on Tuesday, no one spoke in favor.
Labor, higher education and agricultural commodity boards testified against or with concerns regarding this proposal to furlough state employees for 16 days of unpaid leave.
Labor representatives said state employees have shared the pain caused by the fiscal crisis through layoffs and furloughs already enacted, by foregoing cost-of-living and wage increases, and retirement contribution increases.
Higher education representatives shared concerns about compliance with federal overtime laws, costs associated with managing the payroll impacts, and difficulties with serving students, patients, and communities.
They said exempting classroom instructional employees will be difficult to interpret and administrative support personnel are needed for instructional activities. These closure dates will disrupt federal mandates in the health care field, which will jeopardize federal funding.
It was suggested that each institution of higher education should be able to decide how to implement budget reductions.
The Senate Labor, Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 6290, addressing collective bargaining for certain employees of institutions of higher education and related boards.
Prime sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, the bill amends statute providing union representation rights to certain higher education exempt employees by removing language excluding directors and high- to mid-level managers, and specifically provides for supervisors to be represented.
The bill is intended to address questions related to the assignment of management-level responsibilities and the impact of those responsibilities on a position's inclusion in a bargaining unit.
Testifying in favor were Carla Shafer, Everett Community College; and Sandra Schroeder, American Federation of Teachers Washington president.
Speaking in opposition were Louis Pisano, University of Washington on behalf of the Council of Presidents; John Boesenberg, SBCTC human resources director; and Paul W. Locke, citizen.
Ken Latsch, Public Employment Relations Commission, also expressed concerns.
That was the overall message of students who testified at a public hearing on university tuition-setting authority.
The Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee held a public hearing Wednesday on Senate Bills 6276, granting the University of Washington tuition-setting authority; 6562, regarding tuition-setting authority at institutions of higher education; 6509, modifying the budget recommendations developed by the Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB) to include recommendations on tuition and fees, and 6625 on changing higher education tuition and financial aid provisions.
Denise Graham, SBCTC operating budget director, told the committee that except for SB 6509, tuition at the community and technical colleges is not directly affected by any of the bills. However, the proposals on tuition-setting authority for the four-year institutions could impact the share of the State Need Grant for community and technical college students.
“We want to ensure as we move through the budget process that we don’t have more unserved students because more aid is going to the universities,” she said.
Graham also said it’s important that community and technical college students maintain access and affordability when they transfer into four-year institutions. About 12,500 community and technical college students transfer to four-year institutions each year.
Speaking directly to SB 6509, Graham testified with concerns, saying the bill calls for the four-year institutions and the community and technical colleges to submit their tuition proposals, along with their budget proposals, to the HECB in July of every even-numbered year.
“We think July is too early to do that,” Graham said. Graham said access and affordability for students means keeping tuition as low as possible.
“As the budget develops and we learn more about what’s happening with the state’s budget, OFM’s budget and the different legislative budget proposals, we arrive at a tuition rate increase request after systemwide discussions. We ask that you consider different timing.”
Full-service center at North Seattle Community College
The House Higher Education Committee heard House Bill 2684, sponsored by Rep. Phyllis Gutiérrez Kenney, D-Seattle. The bill creates the Opportunity Employment and Education Center in the Seattle Community College District. The Center will house various educational and social service providers, including Employment Security, WorkSource, and the Department of Social and Health Services.
The bill establishes a workgroup charged with developing governance procedures for the Center and requires the SBCTC to evaluate the center and report findings to the Governor and Legislature by December 1, 2011, and annually thereafter.
“This bill is a simple one,” Kenney said. “It recognizes the excellent work of the existing opportunity employment and education center by putting it into statute.”
She said the center is the result of a lot of hard work, which began many years ago, and will provide seamless, cohesive services for those in need, increase cost-sharing among the agencies, and ultimately, provide the business community with a more skilled applicant pool to meet employer needs.
She commended the leadership at North Seattle Community College for making it a reality and said the model is already receiving national attention.
Tina Bloomer, SBCTC workforce policy associate, spoke in favor of the bill and said while other states have developed partial co-locations, “we’re really breaking some new ground in co-locating all these services on a community college campus.”
She said the bill will help all the agencies set a governance structure and asked that the SBCTC be named as a member on the policy workgroup.
Steve Miller, North Seattle Community College executive dean for career and workforce education, said WorkSource co-located on the campus two years ago and that alone has proven to be of great benefit, creating efficiencies for the college and the people it serves.
“We’re very excited about working with WorkSource, DSHS and other community organizations and employers to provide career pathways to our customers in a highly effective, efficient manner,” he said. “This center will allow customers access to education, employment and social services all under one roof.”
Bruce Beauchamp, a North Seattle Community College Worker Retraining Program student, said a full-service center like this would have been of great benefit to him when he started. “This will help the many people like me who need these services in one place, because they don’t know where to start or where to go next.”
Madeleine Thompson, Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board policy analyst, and Tony Lee, Solid Ground of Seattle advocacy director, both spoke in favor of the bill.
Everett CC and UW-Bothell hope to offer BSN program
House Bill 2694, sponsored by Rep. Mike Sells, D-Everett, recognizes a shortage of nurses in Washington and directs the University Center at Everett Community College (EvCC) to partner with University of Washington-Bothell (UW-B) to offer a bachelor of science in nursing to serve at least 50 full-time students.
Christine Kerlin, University Center vice president, said the program will be building on an existing facility, existing services and existing capacity. She noted there is already a strong partnership in place with Providence Regional Medical Center of Everett, UW-B and EvCC.
Stu Barger, EvCC Health Science and Nursing dean said EvCC has a great need for nursing instructors, which are hard to come by. “This would add to a pool of people ready to get their masters who could then teach for us,” he said, adding that with Swedish Hospital’s recent announcement of expansion to Everett, the demand for qualified nurses is going to increase even more.
Janine Holbrook, Providence Regional Medical Center director of nursing administration, said Providence is the lucky neighbor of the University Center at EvCC. She said she sees her nursing staff aging while the needs of the community are growing. “We need more nurses and will be at a critical juncture if this bill doesn’t pass.”
Dropout re-engagement bill back for second try
Last Friday, the House Education Committee held a hearing on Substitute House Bill 1418, which creates a statewide dropout re-engagement system for youth ages 16 to 21 who have dropped out of school or are so far behind, they are not expected to graduate by age 21.
The bill requires the Educational Service Districts (ESDs) to manage model contracts and interlocal agreements between school districts and community and technical colleges or community-based organizations. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) will adopt rules and develop the model contracts and inter-local agreements to be used in the system.
While the bill requires school districts to offer a dropout recovery program, they have three choices of delivery: under contract with its ESD, through a model agreement to be set up through OSPI, or directly if a school district chooses to run its own program, which means the bill allows colleges to continue current agreements with school districts.
The bill’s prime sponsor, Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Lake Forest Park, reminded the committee that SHB 1418 passed in the House last year, but, in the final hours of the session, did not pass the Senate. She explained the bill came out of an experience with the Shoreline School District and Shoreline Community College after the school district received an audit exception from the state auditor because the contract for Shoreline’s Career Education Options (CEO) program was not set in statute.
Due to those complications, the school district canceled the contract with Shoreline Community College. To keep the program alive, Monroe School District offered to continue the contract with Shoreline Community College, but as more audits took place across the state, other school districts were forced to discontinue their contracts as well.
“It became clear that the lack of a statutory framework was jeopardizing these programs,” Kagi said. “We desperately need this framework so school districts can confidently create contracts and successfully run reengagement programs.”
Several students and staff from Shoreline Community College spoke in favor of the bill:
Granting credit at public higher education institutions for career college credits, life and work experience
On Tuesday, the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee heard testimony about Senate Bill 6357, sponsored by committee chair, Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor.
The bill would require the SBCTC to develop policies for awarding academic credit for work and military experience, military and law enforcement training, career college training, internships and externships, and apprenticeships.
SBCTC would work with the HECB, the Council of Presidents, and representatives from Washington institutions of higher education, representatives from two- and four-year faculty private career schools, business and labor.
Sen. Kilmer said the genesis of the bill was two-fold: those coming out of the military who want to translate their experience into college credits, and a conversation with representatives of the Bremerton campus of Everest College (formerly Bryman), whose graduates cannot transfer their credits to state colleges.
Michelle Andreas, SBCTC associate director for educational services, explained the public colleges and universities are accredited and governed by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The commission sets forth criteria and standards for granting credit and such policies already exist at each campus.
Andreas said individual programs at some colleges—such as nursing, pharmacy, culinary arts, automotive technology—carry additional requirements by national accrediting organizations.
She explained that students must document prior learning and faculty must assess the student’s skills according to the college’s learning outcomes for any given course. The outcomes are set by colleges locally, not statewide.
Amy Goings, Clover Park Technical College vice president of operations and college relations, said CPTC is fortunate that students can demonstrate skills to faculty. CPTC also uses the nationally recognized College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) program, which allows students to receive college credit for certain classes.
Greg Brazell, Pierce College early childhood education instructor, described the individualized nature of granting credit, since the programs have unique aspects beyond their common core competencies. The process requires interviewing students to assess their learning as it applies to the individual college.
Steve Lindstrom, Northwest Career Colleges, testified in favor, saying it is important to take life experience into consideration.
Also testifying in favor were Donna Steward, Association of Washington Business; Madeleine Thompson, Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board policy analyst; Nicole Grant, IBEW Local 46; and Mike Bogatay, Washington Student Association.
Jim Fridley, University of Washington mechanical engineering professor and faculty legislative representative, spoke with concerns. He said the bill needs to consider unique program accreditations and suggested that members of campus curriculum review bodies should be identified to help with this process. Fridley noted that students can always challenge exams if they already know the material.
Labor representative on community college boards of trustees
On Wednesday, the House Higher Education Committee heard testimony on House Bill 2751 requiring at least one member on each community college board of trustees from labor.
The state is divided into 30 community and technical college districts. Each district has a five-member board of trustees appointed by the Governor.
Technical colleges are already required to have one board member from labor and one from business.
Prime sponsor Rep. Mike Sells, D-Everett, said the conversations on boards—particularly around workforce issues—are enriched by a labor perspective. Sells noted that as an 11-year member of the Central Washington University board, he didn’t just represent labor, he also represented all Washington residents, but his labor expertise was important.
Speaking in support and noting dialog is improved when someone at the table represents and understands labor issues were Alia Griffins, Washington Federation of State Employees; Rudolfo Franco, North Seattle Community College maintenance mechanic and president of WFSE Local 304; Randi Loomis, International Union of Operating Engineers; and Bernal Baca, AFT Washington.
Pete Crane, Olympic College trustee, spoke against the bill, saying it is too prescriptive to require special interest members on a small, five-member board. He said labor representatives “make sense” on technical college boards because of their vocational and technical education emphasis and that the Governor’s trustee selection process already includes consideration of labor, as well as geographical diversity, business, women, racial and ethnic diversity.
Allowing students to keep alternative format instructional materials
On Wednesday, the House Higher Education Committee heard testimony on House Bill 2638.
The bill, prime sponsored by Rep. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, would prevent public and private institutions of higher education from requiring students to return specialized format versions of instructional materials provided during their education.
Sharon Garvin Todd, Eastern Washington University master’s degree student at the Everett University Center, explained that every quarter she has to re-attest she will return all alternative format materials provided for her use. She said students need to refer to the same books used in previous quarters. “I would like to build a professional library just like any of the sighted students,” she said
“This bill is a great idea. How can you not support it?” asked Scott Copeland, SBCTC policy associate for student services. However, he said if alternative format textbooks are purchased by the college, the college owns them. “It is not standard business practice for colleges to buy textbooks for students,” he said.
Greg Scheiderer, vice president of Independent Colleges of Washington, said the bill raised a red flag for disability services offices. Colleges invest tremendous amounts of money to create or purchase alternative format items for students (sometimes thousands of dollars per item) and will need them for future students.
Economics of construction
The House Capital Budget Committee held a work session Tuesday to hear an overview of the economics of construction projects, including construction costs, job creation, and revenue generated.
A panel comprised of Wayne Doty, SBCTC capital budget director; John Lynch, Washington State Department of General Administration engineering and architectural services; and Dan Absher, Absher Construction Company, outlined the capital project process, from identifying program needs, scoring and ranking projects to pre-design, design, and construction.
The panel illustrated the steps, using the Glenn Anthon Hall Replacement project at Yakima Valley Community College, as an example.
“It is pretty typical for construction to be about 78 percent of total project funding,” Doty said. “Equipment costs [for Glenn Anthon Hall] were higher than most projects because it is a science building.”
The project generated about 170 construction jobs, 70,000 construction hours (15,300 hours completed by apprentices), and $2 million in state sales tax revenue.
“The rule of thumb is that about nine jobs are created for every $1 million in project costs, with two other jobs created in the community as a direct result,” Lynch said.
Creating the opportunity express program
The House Higher Education Committee held a public hearing last Friday on House Bill 2630.
HB 2630, prime sponsored by Rep. Tim Probst, D-17th District, creates the Opportunity Express program, which would expand training and education programs—such as the Worker Retraining program, the Opportunity Grant program, and the Opportunity Internship program—to ensure that Washington citizens can get the training they need.
It also creates more effective intake and outreach systems to reach the greatest number of citizens and connect them to the resources they need.
The bill requires that SBCTC give priority in the use of Worker Retraining funds to those programs serving the aerospace, health care, high technology manufacturing, or renewable energy industries. SBCTC also must create a single website for advertising the availability of workforce education and training resources to Washington citizens who are unemployed, underemployed, or are in need of additional training.
The community and technical colleges are required to establish a partnership with their workforce development councils to link the programs and services targeted for worker retraining funding with overall regional economic development strategy as determined by the local workforce development council. They also must annually prepare a worker retraining plan in collaboration with the local workforce development council.
The SBCTC is prohibited from authorizing colleges to use Worker Retraining funds until the local Workforce Development Council has approved the college's worker retraining plan.
In addition, the opportunity express account is created and stipulates that funding may be used only for the Worker Retraining, Opportunity Grant, and Opportunity Internship programs up to $100 million.
A substitute bill was introduced Wednesday that maintains priorities on aerospace, healthcare, advanced manufacturing and renewable energy and adds construction and other programs as identified by colleges in collaboration with their WDCs.
The requirement that the colleges prepare an annual plan and have it approved by the local WDC is removed, as is the requirement that colleges and WDCs form partnerships to assure that economic development strategies are aligned. Automatic eligibility requirements for recipients of food stamps, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), and free and reduced lunch are removed. Development of a website by the SBCTC is made permissive.
Dr. Jack Bermingham, Highline Community College president, spoke about the need for flexibility in handling the record number of students at colleges.
Concerning secondary career and technical education courses
The House Education Committee held a public hearing Tuesday on House Bill 2580 to address ongoing issues regarding career and technical education courses.
2SSB 6377, passed last year, states that if a community or technical college has an agreement with a high school or skill center to offer college credit for a secondary career and technical education (CTE) course, then all community and technical colleges must accept the course for an equal amount of college credit. Presently, some colleges may grant the credit, but might charge students a fee. The 2008 bill did not provide a means for addressing possible disputes on this issue.
HB 2580 states that students may not be charged more than a standard transcription fee for a secondary CTE course when another college has agreed to offer such credit. If a high school or skill center believes a college is not following the requirement of accepting the credits (as in the original bill) or is charging more than a standard transcription fee, it may request assistance from the SBCTC. After review, the SBCTC may direct the college to follow the law.
Pat Ward, SBCTC program administrator, spoke in favor of the bill with some concerns about the language. She told the committee the SBCTC had not been aware until recently of any problems with the original bill. She argued that language referring to “lingering problems” and how high schools or skills centers may resolve those problems is unnecessary.
“Any high school or skill center is welcome to pick up the phone and call me or someone else at the SBCTC and we will deal with it quickly,” Ward said.
Rep. Marko Liias, D-21st District, asked that the SBCTC work with staff on language of the bill.
Speaking in favor were Dennis Kampe, Clark County Skill Center director; Kathleen Lopp, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction assistant superintendent; and Tim Knue, Washington Association of Career and Technical Education executive director.
Growing the middle class
The House Community & Economic Development & Trade Committee heard testimony on House Bill 2632, which aims to expand the number of households living in the middle-income bracket.
Prime sponsored by Rep. Tim Probst, D-17th District, the bill, among other things, requires several state agencies—SBCTC, Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Department of Commerce, Employment Security Department, and the Department of Social and Health Services—to adopt the goal and develop specific strategies to increase the percentage of Washington households living in the middle-income bracket or above.
“Our system supports local economic growth by providing opportunities for individuals to increase their income and sustainability with living-wage jobs,” said Marie Bruin, SBCTC policy associate. “We know that increased access to education and training can play a major role in reducing poverty.”
Bruin suggested amending the mandate to increase both training capacity and the number of individuals in skills training during a time of limited available resources.
Also speaking in support were Karan Gill, Burst for Prosperity; Sherry Tuscher, People First of Washington; and Madeleine Thompson, Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board policy analyst.